What are the possibilities for Medical Mile, Siluria?

The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham presented possible layouts for the Medical Mile and Siluria district (pictured) during an April 30 public forum. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham presented possible layouts for the Medical Mile and Siluria district (pictured) during an April 30 public forum. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Alabaster residents, business owners and employees suggested items such as a civic center, different types of residential and business development and more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly offerings along U.S. 31 for a pair of city districts during a series of public meetings from April 27-30.

On April 30, the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, which is working with Alabaster to update the city’s 2005 comprehensive plan, detailed feedback it received during several public input sessions earlier in the week.

The feedback focused on the Main Street Medical Mile district along U.S. 31 near Shelby Baptist Medical Center and the Siluria Mill area off Alabama 119 near Alabaster City Hall.

“These are just ideas. There are no plans to change anything,” said Regional Planning Commission representative Darrel Howard. “We just sat down and listened to what peoples’ interests were and what they would like to see happen.”

About 25 Alabaster residents attended the April 30 meeting, and provided feedback on several possibilities for the two districts.

Through its studies of the Medical Mile, and through public feedback during previous meetings, the Regional Planning Commission determined about 70 percent of Alabaster’s jobs are in the Medical Mile area.

“It has the potential to become a very vibrant place, a major destination,” Howard said. “It is very, very unfriendly to pedestrians. If you walk along that corridor now, you are taking your life into your own hands.”

Howard said public input has suggested bike and pedestrian lanes separated from the main highway, signs clearly designating the entry points into the Medical Mile and more nightlife offerings.

Some residents in attendance said they had concerns about adding pedestrian and bicycle traffic along the corridor, and some said they would like to see more quality sit-down restaurants in the area.

Howard also said public input has suggested more residential development, such as condos and single-family residences, a possible city center and retail offerings in the Siluria mill area.

Some current Siluria residents in attendance said they are opposed to changing the community, and said they worried about increased traffic levels in the area.

Howard said the Regional Planning Commission is still continuing to accept public feedback on Alabasterforward.com, and likely will present its final recommendations to the City Council in September.